SIERRA VISTA — Before the football season started, Buena quarterback Jovoni Borbon said Keyon Taylor is the best receiver he’s thrown to during his tenure at the Sierra Vista high school. Through the Colts’ four games this season, the sophomore hasn’t disappointed.
“Honestly I didn’t come into the season really expecting myself to be ‘the star player’ or a ‘star player’ I just wanted to come out and help my team win games and so far that’s what I’ve been doing,” Taylor said. “I set goals for myself, but I honestly didn’t think they would come this fast cause I’ve been pretty successful with the touchdowns that I have.”
He leads the Colts with five touchdowns, 382 receiving yards and 13 receptions.
“My main goal is to help the team in general and just push myself,” Taylor said. “I just wanted to stay consistent with my work ethic and be one of the best on varsity.”
There aren’t many underclassmen playing on varsity football teams in the 5A Conference, which Taylor knows and understands. Being one of the younger players on Buena’s varsity lineup is motivation for the wide receiver because he knows his spot isn’t guaranteed.
“I work harder than I did on (the) freshman (team) because I’m a sophomore on varsity so I can easily be replaced, just sent down to (junior varsity) if I’m not playing hard,” Taylor said. “My biggest improvement or my adjustment has been to work harder and be more consistent.”
Consistency was key for the sophomore to have his chance to play on Friday nights.
“We knew he had the ability to play up as a freshman,” said Buena football coach Joe Thomas. “We just wanted to see his constancy and mental toughness.”
It wasn’t until late in the summer that Taylor showed the consistency and skills the coaching staff knew he possessed. Thomas said he had benched Taylor during a 7-versus-7 tournament at Empire and since then he has been playing at a higher standard.
“He is young so you have to challenge him,” Thomas said. “He works hard, he fits in and he’s coachable.”
Transitioning to the varsity wasn’t just about adjusting to the faster speed of play, but also included relearning the playbook from a different position.
“... I’ve always wanted to play receiver (but) I’ve just always been stuck at quarterback,” Taylor said. “So now being a receiver I kinda know what our quarterback, Geo, wants in a wide receiver and that’s to get off the ball quick and get open fast so he can throw me or a receiver the ball. And that’s all I’ve been trying to do, cause I feel like I’m pretty fast, so I think it helps.”
“I’ve always wanted to play receiver but I’m glad I played quarterback cause no it makes my job a little bit easier as a receiver, cause I already know what the quarterback wants. ...”
Taylor and his family moved back to the area from Texas at the start of last school year. This is the third time they have lived in the area because his dad was stationed at Fort Huachuca. Taylor said they moved back once in each academic level: elementary, middle and high school.
“... I’ve been to multiple schools so I feel like I’ve always had to work to (get) to where I am now,” he said. “Like last year I moved here just a week before the first freshman game and I had to go to multiple practices and zero hour just to be able to play in the first game, and I did it just so I could play.”
“It’s tough (moving around) because I play sports in my opinion. Everyone can make new friends, everyone can adjust to a school, but here I can be on varsity for Buena. But when I move somewhere else, they won’t know how good I am and all my talents, so they can put me at a lower level and I never get to shine to my full potential.”
When football season is over, Taylor can be found on the basketball court, which he admits helps him stay in shape for football and on the track as his need for speed and competition doesn’t go away. But even with other activities and school to occupy him, there’s still just one thing he’s thinking about.
“If I’m not home doing homework or hanging out with my family, I’m thinking about football, honestly,” he said.